Tag Archives: Steam Railway

Forthcoming Attractions – Amerton Railway Steam Gala 2013

Amerton Railway Steam Gala 2013

DSCF6155Steam Gala

2013 Steam Gala Weekend (15th & 16th June) – Saturday opening by Pete Waterman

This year’s Summer Steam Gala will be held on 15th & 16th June 2013, we will be running an intensive service of steam locomotives pulling both freight and passengers around our 1 mile track. Trains will be running from 11am until 5pm on both days. There will also be other displays of interest while at the railway, and the café and bakery at Amerton Farm will be open serving an assortment of delicious food throughout the day.

As always we are after volunteers and the gala gives you an excellent opportunity to meet the amazing team of volunteers Amerton Railway has. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer by all means please ask any one of us throughout the day

As you can see, there is an excellent line up this year!


Steam Locomotives of a more Leisurely Era 1873 – Ilfracombe Goods – London & South Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a more Leisurely Era

1873 – Ilfracombe Goods – London & South Western Railway

Shropshire & Montgomery No.6 Thisbe in 1926.  H.C.Casserley

Eight engines constructed by Beyer Peacock & Co. between 1873 and 1880 to the order of W.G.Beattie for working the steeply graded Barnstaple – Ilfracombe line, then newly opened.  They were of Beyer Peacock’s standard design of the period, a distinctive feature being that the dome, with Salter spring balance safety valves, was placed over the firebox.  The semi-open splashers were embellished with the makers’ handsome brass plates.Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Railway0-6-0 Ilfracombe Goods loco, Thisbe.  J.H.L.Adams

The numbers were 282-4, 300, 301, 324, 393 and 394, eventually placed on the duplicate list as 0282, etc.  The first six were rebuilt by Adams between 1888 and 1890 with normal domed boilers and increased working pressure.  Nos. 0301 and 0393 were broken up in 1905, but all the others were bought by Colonel Stephens between 1910 and 1918 for use on some of his light railways, No. 282 (latterly the engine had been renumbered 0349) and 0284 going to the Kent and East Sussex as Nos. 7Rother and 9 Juno.  Nos. 0283, 0300 and 0324 became Shropshire & Montgomery Nos. 6 Thisbe, 5 Pyramus and 3 Hesperus, whilst the unrebuilt engine, No.0394, which remained in its original condition to the end, went to the East Kent Railway, on which line it became known as No.3.  All of these engines disappeared during the 1930s except S & M Thisbe, which lasted until 1941.

 Driving wheels – 4’ 6”,  Cylinders – 16”x 20”, Pressure: As built – 130 lb., As rebuilt – 160 lb.,  Weight: As built – 25 tons 16 cwt, As rebuilt – 26 tons 12 cwt.

  The late Colonel Stephens showed a marked inclination towards the London & South Western Railway’s ‘Ilfracombe Goods’ 0-6-0s when he was seeking a further locomotive for his light railway empire.  At least three, Pyramus, Thisbe and Hesperus, went to the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire, and the Kent & East Sussex found a home for yet another, No.3 Juno, here ambling through the Rother meadows close to the castle towers of Bodiam on 14th March, 1931.  H.C.Casserley.

Some Early Lines – The Ilfracombe Branch

The Ilfracombe Branch

An almost aerial view of Ilfracombe station in May 1963.  The train leaving is the up Atlantic Express.  G.F.Heiron

The Ilfracombe Branch of the London & South Western Railway (LSWR), ran between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe in North Devon. The branch opened as a single-track line in 1874, but was sufficiently popular that it needed to be upgraded to double-track in 1889.

The 1-in-36 gradient between Ilfracombe and Mortehoe stations was one of the steepest sections of double track railway line in the country, and was most certainly the fiercest climb from any terminus station in the UK. In the days of steam traction, it was often necessary to double-head departing passenger trains.

‘Named’ trains like the Atlantic Coast Express and the Devon Belle both started and terminated at Ilfracombe.

Despite nearly a century of bringing much-needed revenue into this remote corner of the county, passenger numbers dropped dramatically in the years following the Second World War due to a massive increase in the number of cars on Britain’s roads, and the line finally closed in 1970.

Much of the course of the line is still visible today, and sections of it have been converted into public cycleway.Barnstaple Junction Station  View SE, towards Exeter; ex-London & South Western Exeter – Barnstaple Junction – Ilfracombe, Bideford and Torrington lines. The Ilfracombe line is bearing left, while the line to Bideford and Torrington runs directly underneath. On 5/10/70 when the Ilfracombe line was closed, this formerly important junction became the terminus of the line from Exeter, the Torrington line having been closed on 4/10/65.  

Date 17 April 1964  Source geograph.org.uk  Author  Ben Brooksbank Permission (Reusing this file) Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.


On 20 July 1874 a railway link was opened between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe. The line was originally laid as a single-track light railway, which restricted the type of trains that could use it.

Popularity led to expansion, and much of the line was converted to double track between 1889 and 1891. This was a major exercise, requiring the rebuilding of most stations, and cutting a second bore for the Slade tunnel.West Country Pacific No. 30402 ‘Salisbury’ about to enter Ilfracombe tunnel with the 6.24 pm from Barnstaple in May, 1963.  G.F.Heiron

The line was mentioned as a candidate for closure in the Reshaping of British Railways report (The Beeching Axe) review, in 1963, but it was not closed by British Railways until 1970. Indeed, steam-hauled passenger services and freight operations ceased on 7 September 1964 (with one special running on 3 October 1965), and the rationalisation of the line began. DMU services began, the Waterloo through services were stopped, and the line was down-graded to single track on 25 November 1967.

It was in May 1967, that the Network for Development Plans were issued by Barbara Castle, the then Labour Minister of Transport following a study. Where lines were at the remunerative end of the scale, such as the main trunk routes and some secondary lines, these would be developed. But those that failed to meet the financial criterion, but served a social need were to be retained and subsidised under the 1968 Transport Act. The problem would be for lines that were not in the abovementioned categories could be candidates for closure as they did not form part of the basic railway network. The Ilfracombe line was one of those that fell into this category. It was a line that may well have carried considerable traffic, and perhaps made a small profit, but it did not meet the Government’s social, economic and commercial criteria for retention.

The line was closed on 5 October 1970 the last train being on 3 October. The final train, an 8-car Class 118 DMU, was packed to bursting point.

There was an abortive attempt at saving the line, in the early 1970s, but the preservation movement was in its infancy and the project was to founder as it could not raise the required sum to purchase the line outright. This was because BR had valued the line at £410,000 in 1974, and certainly BR was criticised for charging market values for a potential heritage railway that wanted to preserve it. It must be appreciated that the BR board was under instruction from the Ministry to fix the highest price possible in an attempt to recoup funds to offset the deficit that the line produced.

The last train was formed of a single inspection saloon hauled by a Class 25, 25 063, on Wednesday 26 February 1975. This carried engineers inspecting the condition of the track for possible reinstatement of services. However this was not to be and track lifting commenced in June 1975. The distinctive curved steel girder bridge over the River Taw in Barnstaple was demolished in 1977, adding a significant cost to any future reopening scheme.In May 1961, Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 No. 30476 ’41 Squadron’ nears Woolacombe and Morthoe with the Atlantic Coast Express.  G.F.Heiron

Steam Locomotives of a more Leisurely Era 1856 – 0-4-0WTs – Great North of Scotland Railway

Steam Locomotives of a more Leisurely Era

1856 – 0-4-0WTs – Great North of Scotland Railway

Two engines built in 1856 by Beyer Peacock & Co. for working the Aberdeen Harbour branch, originally the southern end of the GNoSR, with a terminus on the quay at Waterloo.

They were Nos. 13 & 14 in the locomotive list and were destined to enjoy long lives.  They were re-boilered in 1887 and later used for shunting at Keith and Elgin.  In 1890 they were renumbered 13A and 14A, and lasted on the GNoSR until 1916 when they were sold to the Government for war service, No.14 going to Chilwell Ordnance Depot, Notts.  After the war this engine gravitated still further from its original haunts and finished up at Tarini Colliery in South Wales, where it lasted until 1943.

Driving wheels – 4’ 6”,  Cylinders – 15”x 24”

 No.14A in its later days, but the actual date and location of the photograph is not known.

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway – Another first for chasewaterstuff!

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway

Another first for chasewaterstuff!

 After my first visit to any Canal Festival at Pelsall and then my first visit to the Brownhills Canal Festival, today, 29th June,  saw my first visit to the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway.  I’ve been promising myself a trip to Rudyard Lake for some time now and today I finally made it – with my trusty hound in tow, of course!Waiting patiently!

  Another Narrow Gauge railway, following my visit to Amerton Railway, and another most enjoyable day. King Arthur by the dam

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway is in the North Staffordshire Peak District and their steam trains give a great 3 mile return trip along the side of the lake. The railway uses real coal fired narrow gauge steam engines to pull all its trains. The railways 5 steam engines all have names linked to the tales of King Arthur. It’s one of the UK’s finest heritage steam railways and is constantly developing new attractions to give great family days out.A rather grotty photo in the Lakeside Loop as Merlin comes by.

I was most surprised to find trains running every half-hour, giving a really first-class service.  I decided to have a lunch break at the end of the line and I had barely finished my coffee before the next train back had arrived.  Perfect!  And dogs travel free!  (To my eternal shame I did utter that sad phrase “you take the dog and I’ll walk” as if nobody had ever said it before.  How many times must the drivers have heard it!  But today’s driver did try to smile – thank you and I’m very sorry – I’ll try not to say it next time, and there must be a next time, it was such a good day).

Merlin running roundThe lake, taken from the trainThe lake, taken from the dam.Pendragon being worked on.Showing part of a very neat station set-up.

For more information on the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway go to: 

http://www.rlsr.org  or click on Rudyard Lake Steam Railway on the blogroll

Some Early Lines – Torbay & Brixham Railway

Some Early Lines

Torbay & Brixham Railway

Brixham Station – The Tony Harden Collection

Situated on the South Devon coast the Torbay and Brixham Railway was a 7 ft 0 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge railway which linked the Dartmouth & Torbay Railway at Churston Railway Station, Devon with the important fishing port of Brixham. It was a little over two miles long.

The railway was largely built due to the work of Richard Walter Wolston, a local solicitor, and was sold to the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1883.


  • 1861 Dartmouth & Torbay Railway opened to Churston Railway Station
  • 1864 Torbay and Brixham Railway authorised by Act of Parliament1864 Dartmouth and Torbay Railway extended to Kingswear Railway Station
  • 1868 Torbay and Brixham Railway opened
  • 1872 Dartmouth and Torbay Railway amalgamated with the South Devon Railway
  • 1876 South Devon Railway amalgamated with the Great Western Railway
  • 1883 Torbay and Brixham Railway sold to the Great Western Railway
  • 1892 The broad gauge converted to standard gauge
  • 1948 Great Western Railway nationalised into British Railways
  • 1963 Brixham line closed

Brixham Station

View southward, buffer-stops on left; ex-GWR terminus of branch from Churston, which was closed 13/5/63.    © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The railway station had a single platform and a goods shed opposite. An engine shed and another small goods yard were situated at the Churston end of the station. It had to be constructed on the hill above the town in order that the gradients between Brixham and Churston were not too steep.

On March 4th, 1961,  No. 1470 pulls out of Churston with the 11.13am for Brixham.  Peter F.Bowles.

Brixham was the location of Roxham station in The System, a 1964 film. An early scene sees most of the main characters at the station, either arriving on a train hauled by a British Rail Class 22 locomotive, or waiting there to see who is arriving in the town for a holiday.


Broad gauge 0-4-0T “Queen” built by E. B. Wilson & Co. for the Portland Breakwater Railway in 1853, in use at Portland before it went to the Torbay & Brixham Railway in 1870. It once fell into the sea — hence the awkward chimney repair. – John Speller’s Web Pages.

Queen – An 0-4-0WT locomotive built by E.B.Wilson & Co.

Gauge – 7’ 0¼”,  Driving Wheel – 4’ 0”,  Wheelbase – 8’ 0”,   Cylinders – 10½” x 17”

Queen was built by E.B.Wilson & Co. in 1852 and was used for several years at the Isle of Portland in the construction of the harbour thereAlthough the railway was initially worked by the South Devon Railway, the Torbay and Brixham Railway purchased this little locomotive to haul the trains. The South Devon Railway were to pay £3 per day for the privilege, however the railway soon had to mortgage Queen to the South Devon for £350 to cover its debt to that company. In 1883 it passed to the Great Western Railway, which immediately withdrew it from service.

King – A 2-4-0T locomotive built by the Avonside Engine Co.

Gauge – 7’ 0¼”,  Leading wheel diameter – 2’ 6”, Driving Wheel diameter – 3’ 0”,

Wheelbase – 9’ 6”,  Cylinders – 9”x16”

       A second locomotive was ordered by the Torbay and Brixham Railway for the South Devon Railway but in the end the latter company paid for it and it worked in its fleet. See South Devon Railway 2-4-0 locomotives for further information.

Raven – An 0-4-0ST locomotive built by the Avonside Engine Co.

Gauge – 7’ 0¼”,  Driver diameter – 3’ 0”,  Wheelbase – 7’ 6”,  Cylinders 14”x17”

    Raven had been built for the South Devon Railway as part of their Raven Class for shunting dockside lines at Plymouth. In 1877, now also carrying their number 2175, it was sold by the Great Western Railway to the Torbay and Brixham to assist Queen.

Great Western Locomotives

After 1883 the Great Western Railway provided various small locomotives from its fleet to operate the Brixham branch. Up until 1892 broad gauge locomotives were provided such as ex-South Devon Railway 2-4-0 Prince and GWR Hawthorn Class 2-4-0Ts.

After the line was converted to standard gauge on 23 May 1892 a number of small tank locomotives found themselves spending time at Brixham, including the unique 4-4-0ST 13. In later years standard GWR 1400 Class 0-4-2Ts worked the autotrain. At Churston the branch train once left for Brixham but this is now a matter of history.  On the last day of the regular steam haulage 14xx class 0-4-2 tank No.1470 hurries the 11.56 am auto along the branch.  It is the 4th March, 1961.  Peter F. Bowles.

Brixham Station – robertdarlaston.co.uk

The final trains were worked by British Rail Class 122 single-car DMUs.


Steam Locomotives of a more Leisurely Era – GWR 1883 – Dean Goods

 Great Western Railway 

Dean Goods  0-6-0

2563  as running about 1900.  In later years they received Belpaire fireboxes and superheaters.  H.C.Casserley

William Dean’s standard goods engine for the GWR, totalling 280 engines, built between 1883 and 1899, and numbered 2301-2580.  Nos. 2361-80, built in 1885 and 1886, differed from the others in having double frames.

The class proved to be a very efficient one, and the later survivors continued to put in much useful work, the last one to remain in service not being withdrawn until 1957.  Between 1907 and 1910 Nos. 2491-2510 were rather oddly rebuilt as 2-6-2T engines, becoming Nos. 3901-20 (although not in the same order).  These were all withdrawn between 1931 and 1934.2532      Dean Goods No.2532 heads a Lambourn to Newbury train in the      summer of 1947.  J.F.Russell-Smith

War Service

In 1917, 62 engines were taken over by the Railway Operating Division and sent to France. 46 of these engines returned to England in the early summer of 1919, but the other 16 had been sent on to Salonika at the beginning of 1918. Two of these engines, nos. 2308 and 2542, were sold to the Ottoman (Aiden) Railways and renumbered 110 and 111. No 111 was withdrawn in September 1929, but 110 lasted until the 1950s. Of the 14 engines remaining at Salonika, six were written-off and the other eight returned to England in April 1921.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the War Department requisitioned 100 of these engines from the GWR and the GWR had to hastily reinstate some engines that had been recently withdrawn. The requisitioned engines were fitted with Westinghouse brakes and 10 were fitted with pannier tanks and condensing gear. All were painted black with their WD numbers painted on. In December 1940, the War Department requisitioned a further 8 engines.

At the time of the German invasion of France, 79 of these engines had been shipped to France. Some of the engines were destroyed in the retreat to Dunkirk whilst the remainder were used on the French railways by the German occupation forces. After the war, between 22 and 26 engines were sent to China under UNRRA auspices, and 30 were returned to the UK, but were deemed unfit for service and scrapped. No.2435 (WD no.188) was used in Silesia and then Austria until 1948 when it was claimed by the Russians before being handed back to the Austrians in 1952. Two further engines, nos. 2419 and 2526 (WD nos. 106 and 132) are known to have passed beyond the Iron Curtain. The remaining engines are assumed to have been scrapped.2538        There cannot have been many sections of the main line, or any branches of the Great Western which at one time or another were not the haunts of the Dean Goods 0-6-0s.  After the absorption of the Cambrian Railways on 1923 members of the class were a daily sight at almost any station on that section of the system on both passenger and freight trains.  The Mid-Wales line between Brecon and Moat Lane Junction used these engines until the last few years of their existence and it was not until the standard LMS small 2-6-0 was perfected and the new BR ‘78000’ class built that they disappeared from the scene.  No.2538, the last survivor, makes hard work of a north-bound goods near Rhayader in 1951.  J.F.Russell-Smith.

Of the engines that remained in England, most of them worked at War Department and Ordnance depots around the country, though in 1943, 6 were shipped to Tunisia and thence to Italy.

The last of the double-framed variety went in 1946, but in 1948 54 of the standard engines came into possession of the BR, and the last in service was No.2538, withdrawn in 1957.  No. 2516 has been retained for preservation and is now at Swindon.2516    The now preserved Dean Goods No.2516 at Cleobury Mortimer, on the line through the Wyre Forest from Bewdley to Woofferton, one of the most scenic branches on the Worcestershire/Shropshire border.  Regular passenger traffic was worked by Great Western type diesel cars for many years, but in July 1961 these ceased to operate and the service was cut to two trains per day, the morning and evening school train from Tenbury to Kidderminster, allowing the locomotive (a 57XX  pannier tank) to work the branch goods between services.  P.B.Whitehouse.

Final Dimensions: 

Driving wheels – 5’ 2”, Cylinders – 17”x24”,  Pressure – 180lbs.,  Tractive effort – 17,120lbs., Weight – 36 tons 16 cwt.

Some engines had 17½”x24” cylinders with 18,140lbs tractive effort.2516     Dean Good Loko, STEAM-Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon, England, Foto selbst gemacht.